Posts Tagged ‘Cadbury’
Cadbury, which [looks as if it] has been sold to US firm Kraft, is one of several great British firms founded by Quakers. But how did they gain such a stranglehold on the chocolate industry and why were they so successful in business?
For a religious sect more interested in championing social reform than industry, the Quakers have established an impressive roll call of household business names.
Barclays and Lloyds banks, Clarks shoes, Bryant & May matches and the biscuit firms Huntley & Palmers and Carrs are just a few of the companies founded by members of the pacifist group.
But when it comes to confectionery, there has been a virtual monopoly for more than a century, led by Cadbury of Birmingham, Fry’s of Bristol and Rowntree’s and Terrys of York…
This achievement is all the more remarkable given the tiny numbers of Quakers. In 1851 they only accounted for about one in 1,400 of the population of 21 million in England, Scotland and Wales – less than 0.1%.
The move into chocolate began with cocoa drinks in the 19th Century as a reaction against the perceived misery and deprivation caused by alcohol, says Quaker historian Helen Rowlands.
“Quakers and other non-conformists at the time were concerned about levels of alcohol misuse in the population at large, they were part of the temperance movement.
“Cocoa was a way of providing cheap and available drink. It was healthy because you had to boil the water to make it when they didn’t have good water supplies…”
Another advantage was their reputation for honesty and reliability running parallel with their quest for justice, equality and social reform.
“They were amongst the first to set a firm price for goods. There was a lot of bartering before, but the Quakers said ‘no, we’ll state the price for goods and a fair price’,” says Ms Rowlands.
“People appreciated that, they knew where they stood with Quaker businessmen – they were in it to make a livelihood but not at the expense of customers or employees…”
RTFA. Lots of interesting history. There are parallels in many nations, many lands.
Italian brothers Pietro and Giovanni Ferrero, whose grandfather invented the chocolate hazelnut gloop inside every Rocher that sticks to your teeth, have been linked to a deal with Cadbury that could keep the British confectioner out of the clutches of the US group Kraft, the world’s second biggest food company.
Kraft, maker of Oreo cookies and Toblerone, has tabled an unwanted £9.7bn takeover bid for Cadbury which the Bournville-based group is determined to fight off. Now the Italian brothers, who are based in Belgium, could wade in to offer support in a link-up that would see Ferrero’s famous nut chocolates, together with its Tic Tac mints, lined up alongside Wispas, Dairy Milk and Bertie Bassett’s Licorice Allsorts on the ambassador’s table.
Anyone who invents treats like Nutella is OK by me.
An Italian newspaper said the Ferreros, backed by other financial investors, could form a “friendly” alliance with Cadbury to stop Kraft in its tracks…
Despite its kitsch reputation in the UK, Ferrero has grown to 18 factories with 22,000 employees and has annual sales of more than €6bn. The ambassador’s favourite chocolates, with their distinctive crispy shells, ostentatious gold wrappers and badly dubbed adverts, did not come along until 1980 but have helped turn the Ferrero family into one of Italy’s richest dynasties…
Cadbury also refused to comment but a source close to the company said: “…Cadbury is not up for sale, but the company would give proper consideration to any offer that valued it properly and would be of interest to shareholders.”
C’mon guys. Stop with the lawyerly answers!
You’re dealing with the guys who sponsored Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari. That’s enough class for the whole world.
UPDATE: Cripes. Hershey is getting into the act, too. There must be a sexier way to sort this out.